Editor's Rating

Horizon Zero Dawn is a remarkable game with a captivating story, beautiful graphics, and loads of content that will keep you busy for hours.

9.3
Graphics
8.2
Story
9.5
Content
8
Gameplay

From the developers of the killzone franchise comes Horizon: Zero Dawn. Machines now roam planet Earth and humans have been reduced to primitive technology and have learned to co-exist peacefully with the machines until recently. Machines now have become more aggressive and new kinds are starting to appear and pose a threat to humans. You play as a Aloy who is made an outcast by the Nora tribe for her unusual birth and will be raised by Rost who is also an outsider. At a young age, she falls into a bunker of the Old Ones where she founds the focus that will help her along her journey. As she begins to grow up she wants answers to why she was deemed and outcast and the only way for her to become one with the tribe is to prove herself in the proven. Unforeseen events occur after the proven has ended causing more questions than answers. The Matriarchs of the Nora tribe permit her to become a seeker which means she can leave the scared lands of the Nora and travel to distant places to help uncover her past. Along your journey, you will uncover the secrets of the Old Ones, the humans who came before you and try to figure out their downfall.

The story starts out slow for the first couple of hours but when you get a decent amount into the game it really starts to pick up. It took a while for me to get hooked but when I did I didn’t want to put the game down. It kept me on the edge of seat for most of the game. The campaign took me roughly twenty hours to beat. I didn’t try to rush through the game as I did a decent amount of side missions and events along the way to make sure I was ready to face the challenges that were ahead of me. I would recommend this for most players that are playing on normal difficulty or above because the further you get into the game it is best to have gear that is a high level. 

The graphics for this game are amazing as I was playing the game on the PlayStation Pro which really enhances the experience. The game still looks good on the original PlayStation but to get a better visual representation I would recommend playing this game on the Pro. So much detail was put into the environment, people, and machines that you can really get lost in the beauty of the game. 

One of the things that I didn’t like about the game is the conversations during the cut scenes. Sometimes it would pause after finishing a sentence before continuing which can kill the seriousness of the conversation and make it laughable. But this really was the only problem that I found during my play through.

Horizon features a massive open world and gives you the ability to explore every inch of the game right out of the gate. There is an extraordinary amount of content that you will discover on your journey from collectibles to side-missions, errands and trials. Errands give a small amount of experience and some can be really boring such as gathering supplies or finding a lost trinket. The hunting trials are rather challenging as you are given certain tasks like exploding five flammable canisters in under a minute. Collectibles can be found all over and can be traded in at Meridian for various items. Side-missions give you a decent amount of experience and are rather interesting compared to other content. 

There is a vast amount of different kinds of machines that you can come across. All of them are unique in their own way and they all pose a threat, some deadlier than others. Each machine has components on it that can be detonated or detached. If you detach a component the machine will no longer be able to use that weapon and it will take a small amount of health away. If you can detonate the component it will deal a great amount of damage and give you the upper hand in the fight. To figure out the enemy’s weaknesses you use “focus” and it will scan each component and tell you which arrow is its weakness and the ones that are its strengths. Later on, you will also learn of an override ability during the game which will allow you to take control of machines for use in combat situations and you will also be able to mount certain machines for traveling over long distances. 

Besides machines, you will also have to fight a tribe called The Eclipse who have sworn their allegiance to a metal demon called Hades. The Eclipse is led by Helis whom you have encountered during the proven and whom you hold a grudge against. Hades allows the Eclipse to control machines and use them in battle. The Eclipse will provide a challenge throughout the game. A decent amount of them are dressed in armor and carry heavy weapons that will take your health down very quickly. 

Leveling up in the game is very important as each time you level up you gain a skill point, just like when you complete main story missions and some side-missions. These are very useful because each skill will provide you with an extra advantage. There are three different categories in the skill tree you will be able to choose from and they are forager, prowler and brave. Each tree will offer support, defense and offense abilities. The brave skill tree will improve up-close combat and accuracy of different weapons. The forager tree will improve resource finding, and health improvements. Finally, the prowler tree will increase and improve combat abilities. 

Crafting is a major part of the game as you will use it to make ammunition, increase storage, potions and traps. You will be collecting a ton of resources to make sure you always have ammo. I would recommend increasing your storage space a considerable amount early in the game because down the line it starts to get hectic and I was ill-prepared for some of it.  You will find resources out in the wild such as wood and different plants. Getting items such as wire and blaze would come from killing machines or trading at a shop. Different ammunition requires different resources so always make sure you stock up before starting a main mission because you go through ammo like nobody’s business . There is a fast travel option but you must trade for them as they cost shards and rich meat which you can acquire by hunting wild life. I really like that you can’t instantly fast travel as this makes you work for it. 

You can get different weapons and outfits from traders. Different types of bows will use different ammo which you will need to take down tougher enemies, who require various ammunition to hit its weak spots. Different outfits will increase things such as stealth or taking less damage from certain elements. While you are killing machines, they will drop modifications that you will be able to equip on your outfit or bow that will increase the damage or resistance of certain elements. 

Horizon Zero Dawn is a fantastic game with a story that I thoroughly enjoyed nearly from beginning to end. I have spent countless hours hunting different kinds of machines searching for powerful mods to increase my damage or make tons of money by selling my loot. Machines can be a pain when you find a herd and get their attention all at once. The game lived up to my expectations and surpassed them at times which rare for the recent games that I have played. This is one of the most excellent games that I have played in the past years and one that I barely have any complaints about. I would recommend this game to anyone who is looking for an immersive experience and wants to not spend money on a game that they will finish in a couple of days but a game that will keep them busy for a while.